Environment

Stories about the environment focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp.

I-90WildlifeWatch.org

Wildlife researchers are asking holiday travelers to keep an eye out for something more than grandmother’s house. The request is specifically for people driving over the hills and through the woods on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, the Northwest’s busiest mountain pass.

Don Ryan / AP Photo

State and federal agencies can’t go on killing sea lions at Bonneville Dam, after an appeals’ court decision Tuesday.

Liam Moriarty/KPLU

Nearly two years ago, heavy snow and ice from an unusual mid-December storm and cold snap left roads and sidewalks treacherous for a week or more. Road and transit agencies in Seattle say the hard lessons they learned during the big snowstorm of 2008 are showing up in their response to this snowfall.

NOAA photo

There’s a stretch of shoreline north of Bellingham that hosts oil refineries and other heavy industry. It’s also a key feeding ground for salmon, shorebirds and killer whales. The new Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve – a decade in the making – is meant to thread the needle between protecting the environment and safeguarding family wage jobs.


How do you catch a radioactive mouse?  Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers will use standard mousetraps. Radioactive droppings were found at Hanford recently. After nabbing a radioactive rabbit two weeks ago,  workers say catching the mice is no easy task.

Hanford Nuclear Reservation officials say they don’t know how much radioactive contaminated soil they’re dealing with yet. What they do know is that newly discovered radioactive dirt exceeds lethal limits and is not far from the Columbia River and the city of Richland.


Suresh A. Sethi/U of Washington

The most widely-used way of measuring the health of ocean ecosystems is wrong as often as it's right.

And that can lead to thinking that fisheries are sustainable when they're really not.

Tom Banse / N3

Plans for a coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Longview are coming under fire from environmental groups. Many of them showed up at a Cowlitz County commission hearing  on Tuesday.


Sheila Malcolmson
Liam Moriarty / KPLU

There are more than a thousand islands in the Salish Sea. Some of them are home to good-sized towns, others are inhabited only by wildlife. Either way, the island experience is one of the signatures of this region.


This week in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty takes a ferry to Gabriola Island, in British Columbia, population about 4,000. He talks with Sheila Malcolmson about the joys and challenges of island living.

Whooo knew?

Nov 8, 2010
Sandy Stamato/KPLU

This barred owl perched in a tree Monday outside the window of KPLU's Seattle studios.  In short order, it began drawing the attention of passersby in the Belltown neighborhood, and a crowd under the tree attempting to get a good picture. This photo was taken by our own Sandy Stamato.  Other than some pretty upset crows who made a ruccous, the owl's visit been warmly received.

A radioactively contaminated rabbit has been caught and killed on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland in southeast Washington.

The U.S. Department of Energy says that's not unusual. Last year the agency caught 33 contaminated animals. But this rabbit was unusually close to workers and the public.

The bunny was found just a few miles outside of the city of Richland in Hanford's 300 Area. Todd Nelson is a spokesman for one of the federal contractors that clean up Hanford. He downplayed the incident.

If you've been stuck in traffic jams on I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently, you're not alone. The back-ups are an almost daily occurrence since thousands of soldiers returned from deployments. The race is on to come up with some long-term solutions, not only to the transportation troubles but to education and social service demands. That's because military analysts predict an additional 14,000 more soldiers and their families will arrive by 2015.

Tom Banse

Tom Banse: "I'm standing at the lip of Elwha Dam. That's the sound of the Elwha River in the background gushing out of a spillway and then crashing down 105 feet into an emerald, green pool at the base of dam. Because the sun is hitting just right now, I can see salmon. Actually, quite a few salmon...circling aimlessly here at the foot of the dam...still looking after all these years for some way over. It's been 100 years since Elwha Dam was constructed. It was built without fish ladders. Because of that...and those frustrated salmon below...this dam's days are numbered."

Andrew Reding / Flickr

In some ways, the Puget Sound's orca whales  are very familiar. We've even given them individual names.  But there's still a lot we don't know, like where the whales go and what they eat.

Now that they're listed as endangered, those have become important questions. KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty accompanied a research crew trying to get answers.

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